The New York Police Department’s Aviation Unit pulled off a dramatic rescue of a 36-year-old New Jersey woman who
was stranded on the Palisades cliffs after breaking her ankle. The woman, 36-year-old Amanda Graham, had slipped and fallen down a rocky escarpment on the Palisades, high above the Hudson River, while hiking.
After slipping on a rock, she fractured her ankle and tumbled off the trail, which skirts the edge of the cliff. She grabbed a rock to prevent her from falling all the way down, but fell far enough down to make her rescue extremely challenging. Ms. Graham was able to climb up the steep incline for a short distance in spite of her ankle injury and then rested on a rock shelf.
First responders from the Piermont Volunteer Fire Department, based in Piermont, New York, stabilized the injured woman, but getting her medical help was dependent on airlifting her from the site. A Bell 412 helicopter from the NYPD’s Aviation Unit, based at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn with a crew that included Officer Seth Levinstein
and Officer Derin Devuono as well as Detective Christos Tzavelis, flew the chopper to 200 feet above the Hudson River, a position dangerously close to the Palisades’ cliffs.
Officer Levinstein positioned the helicopter about 50 feet above and alongside the steep cliff.
Officer Edgar Burroughs was hoisted down to the rocky terrain near the victim and, while still attached to the hoist, walked back to the woman, assisted by the chopper. Burroughs, with help from the Piermont Volunteer Fire Department, placed
Ms. Graham in an NYPD rescue basket while still on the cliff and the basket was hoisted back to the helicopter, guided by Det. Tzavelis. Ms. Graham was flown to Nyack Hospital in New York in stable condition and treated for
a broken ankle.
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